Tom Noonan from “Paper Hearts”
Season 4, Episode 10
Original Airdate: December 5, 1996
It’s criminal how underrated Tom Noonan remains in Hollywood. The soft-spoken, 6-foot-five performer is a rare presence who typically defies the expectations his litany of oddball roles warrant. His performance as serial killer John Lee Roche in “Paper Hearts” (see: Scariest Epiode) elevates the episode to diamond status as he steals every scene in the same way Anthony Hopkins did in The Silence of the Lambs —with cold complacency.
Though unlike Hopkins, Noonan drops the histrionics for something frightening in its monolithic serenity, which juxtaposes nicely against a rabid, volatile Mulder. A strong guest spot should take shotgun to the story, which is what few heavy-hitters ever do in their short time on-screen. Noonan’s Roche, however, became an essential product of The X-Files — and one of its most horrific.